What is In Extremis?
In Extremis was set up as a learning and education platform to share high-quality information on psychology in extreme environments. The aim was, and still is, to provide practical evidence-based insights that could be used to understand the performance and health of people living, working and playing in the World's most extreme environments. We know that preparing to go on an expedition can be very expensive, and that any extra preparatory activities shouldn't be too costly, so we have consciously tried to minimise the course prices as much as possible. This ultimately means that explorers, adventures and expeditioners have access to quality scientifically-grounded information to support their endeavours and that anyone else who is keen to learn about psychology in extremes is able to do so.
Although based on scientific research, the content is purposely not prescriptive and encourages you to appropriately engage (we are not expecting anyone to necessarily go and read scientific papers) with research evidence and think about how and why some approaches may be better than others. No practical or scientific experience is needed to take part, just an enthusiastic, enquiring mind and a passion to learn. Each course (and each of the modules within it) has its own specific learning outcomes, which can be used to monitor progress and track what you have learnt. For now, thank you so much for your interest and if you cannot find the information you require on the site, please do get in touch.
A bit about me
There are a few references to my background and experiences scattered throughout the course pages. I won't repeat all of these. What I will say is that I have had a passion for psychology in extremes for many years. I have numerous articles and book chapters published on the topic (have included a sample of these below) and continue to be heavily involved in research in this area. At the moment, I am leading or contributing to projects on motivation and human behaviour during spaceflight, stress-resilience in military personnel and the process of returning and reintegrating from extreme settings. From a teaching perspective, I have previously contributed to setting up the Extreme Medicine MSc programme delivered by the University of Exeter in association with World Extreme Medicine and have taught on the Aerospace Medicine and Health MSc at Kings College London. Currently, I am leading (alongside Professor Emma Barrett) the design of a new interdisciplinary undergraduate module at the University of Manchester on life in extremes entitled From Antarctica to Outer Space: Surviving and Thriving in Extremes. Although not the most extreme of expeditions, I have been to Antarctica and explored wild areas of Patagonia, Iceland and Norway. Closer to home, I can often be found on a hillside in Wales, middle England or Scotland.
Smith, N., et al. (in revision). Relations between daily events, coping strategies, and health during a British Army ski expedition across Antarctica. Environment & Behavior.
Smith, N., Barrett, E. C., & Healy, L. (2019, May 28). The role of the social-psychological environment and basic psychological needs during transition and reintegration from expedition settings. Pre-registered study retrieved from osf.io/q3rmh
Barrett, E. C., & Smith, N. (2019). Performance and coping under stress in security settings. Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats Workshop Report.
Sandal, G. M., van der Vijver, F., & Smith, N. (2018). Psychological hibernation during overwintering in Antarctica. Frontiers in Psychology.
Sandal, G. M., & Smith, N. (2018). Individual resilience. In T. Sgobba, B. Kanki, J.-F. Clervoy, & G. M. Sandal (Eds.), Space Safety and Human Performance (pp. 20–30). Oxford, MA: Elsevier Science.
Sandal, G. M., Smith, N., & Leon, G. R. (2018). Analog Mission Research. In T. Sgobba, B. Kanki, J-F. Clervoy & G. M. Sandal (Eds.), Space Safety and Human Performance (pp. 262-273). Oxford, MA: Elsevier Science.
Smith, N. (2018). Relations between self-reported and linguistic monitoring assessments of affective experience in an extreme environment. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 29, 61–65.
Smith, N., & Barrett, E. C. (2018). Psychology, Extreme Environments, and Counter-terrorism Operations. Behavioural Sciences of Terrorism and Political Aggression, 11, 48-72.
Smith, N., Barrett, E. C., & Sandal, G. M. (2018). Monitoring daily events, coping strategies and emotion during a desert expedition in the Middle East. Stress & Health, 34, 534–544.
Smith, N., Kinnafick, F., & Saunders, B. (2017). Coping strategies used during an extreme Antarctic expedition. Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments, 13, 1–10.
Smith, N., Kinnafick, F., Cooley, S. J., & Sandal, G. M. (2017). Reported growth following mountaineering expeditions: The role of personality and perceived stress. Environment and Behavior, 49, 933–955.
Smith, N., Sandal, G., Leon, G., & Kjaergaard, A. (2017). Examining personal values in extreme environment contexts: Revisiting the question of generalizability. Acta Astronautica, 137, 138–144.